The Saturday Review

The Saturday Review

So, the time is finally upon us. After becoming arguably the biggest YouTube star of all time, all eyes are upon the Scottish spinster for her fervently anticipated debut album.

By Adam Zacharias

Published: Sat 5 Dec 2009, 8:57 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:17 PM

While many will scoff at the factory line slickness of the whole exercise — exemplified by the inclusion of Silent Night as Christmas approaches — it’s hard not to feel a little uplifted by Boyle’s dizzying ascent to fame.

In just seven months, the 48-year-old has gone from being a church helper in a small village to one of the most hyped and debated newcomers in showbusiness following her stint on Britain’s Got Talent.

The I Dreamed A Dream song selection is as safe as houses, as we have come to expect from a Simon Cowell protégé — plucking stone cold classics from genres including musical theatre, lounge bar, rock, Christian hymn, pop and folk.

Daydream Believer is a standout, with a tender sense of pathos giving the Monkees tune a whole new lease of life as a minimalistic slow number.

Faring less well is Amazing Grace, a drab cover of a song which is already mercilessly ubiquitous. No one needs another version, especially one which takes no real chances to be different from the thousands which have preceded it. Who I Was Born to Be, the album’s one original composition, should appeal to fans. It’s essentially Boyle’s story boiled down into a four-minute piano pop ballad, complete with the mandatory swelling strings to polish the triumphant tone. Think You’ll Never Walk Alone, only a lot less rousing. The title track succeeds as one would have expected, evoking memories of the singer’s first breathtaking BGT audition which turned a hostile audience into simpering pussycats.

Finally, the album’s lead single Wild Horses treats the Rolling Stones original in much the same way as Leona Lewis’ cover of Snow Patrol’s Run — giving a sturdy stadium rock song the full-on diva treatment.

The strength of I Dreamed A Dream is also its weakness. By appealing to as broad a spectrum as possible, the album will undoubtedly continue to set sales records across the world.

Despite Boyle’s likeability, however, the whole thing emerges as a lukewarm testament to an undeniably talented vocalist.

RATING: 6 out of 10

Choice picks: Daydream Believer, I Dreamed A Dream, Wild Horses

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